Monday, November 12, 2012

The Consortium Experience – From a Real Estate MBA Student’s Perspective

By Amber House, Real Estate MBA, Class of 2014

The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management (The Consortium) is the country’s leading organization for promoting diversity and inclusion in American business. Through an annual competition, The Consortium awards merit-based, full-tuition fellowships to America’s best and brightest candidates for study at one of the 17 Consortium member universities. Applicants looking to join the MBA Class of 2014 experienced yet another highly competitive Consortium fellowship competition. Last year, over 1000 applications were received for membership and only approximately 300 Consortium fellowships were awarded across its member universities.

Annually, Consortium Fellows from member schools across the nation are invited to participate in one of the most highly anticipated events of the year, The Annual Orientation Program and Career Forum (OP). In July of 2012, the five-day OP conference was held in Minneapolis, MN. Fellows took part in an ambitious series of career focused events, first-look opportunities with national corporate partners including 3M, General Mills, and Target (just to name a few) and the opportunity for Fellows across the nation to meet for the first time.  

As one of three founding partners, The Wisconsin School of Business definitely sets itself apart when it comes to preparing their Consortium Fellows for success within the highly competitive OP environment.  About a month and a half before the actual Consortium OP event, Wisconsin invites their Consortium Fellows to participate in “OP Boot Camp”, a jammed-packed weekend complete with intense career and interview preparation.  “We developed our STAR interview stories, learned key networking tips and methods towards perfecting our personal brand, and even received interview feedback from SC Johnson executives,” says Caroline Mwonga, first year Wisconsin MBA studying in the Center for Supply Chain Management. Wisconsin is serious about ensuring its Fellows’ success at Consortium OP.  The best part of OP Boot Camp, from my perspective, was the opportunity to meet and bond with first- and second-year Wisconsin Consortium students. During that weekend, we discovered a Consortium family, one that will stay with us throughout our Wisconsin MBA journey and beyond.

As a Consortium Fellow looking to continue my career within the real estate industry post MBA, I can admit that I was a bit skeptical about whether my participation at OP would be as successful as my peers. However, I was pleasantly surprised!  Even though Real Estate MBA’s are not the most sought out students for recruiters at OP, the event provided me with an invaluable opportunity to connect with corporate partners who would later become allies during my search for internship and full-time offers. I am now a part of a national network of professionals eager to support The Consortium’s mission and their Fellows, as well as, an MBA at a founding member university whose brand, especially within the real estate industry, continues to speak volumes.  The Wisconsin School of Business unquestionably has a recipe for success with its focus on supporting diversity initiatives and producing specialized MBA graduates ready to take on the work force.

For more information on The Consortium visit

Amber House comes to Madison from San Diego, CA, where she managed the development of multifamily homes affordable to low-income households for Community Housing Works.  Amber would like to leverage her project management and financial analytic skills to promote renewal and reinvestment in urban communities.

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